Untimely retirements and the consequences of “Defund the Police” are haunting the House.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi speaking with attendees at the 2019 California Democratic Party State Convention at the George R. Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, California. June 1, 2019. (photo: Gage Skidmore)

During the midterm election it is typical for the political party in control of the White House to lose a certain number of seats in the House and Senate.

If there is one thing American voters tend to favor, whatever their political affiliation, it is balance. If Democrats control the Executive Branch, but Republicans control the Senate and/or House, or vice versa, it is that much more difficult for either party to dominate the other overmuch.

As Russia rattles its saber over the Ukraine, and war yet again raises its ugly head in the minds of U.S. lawmakers; while globalism falls somewhat out of fashion due to a worsening supply-line crisis, the timing on all these challenges couldn’t be worse for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

How do the midterms challenge Nancy Pelosi? Let us count the ways.

Democratic Party Retirements

A number of incumbent Democratic congresspeople are electing not to seek reelection in November: A large number.

Retirements at the midterm aren’t unusual; but the number reached with the most recent Democrat to announce his retirement from Congress is much larger than usual: 29 Democrats- twice the number of Republicans.

While plenty of Democratic analysts will insist that this doesn’t mean Democrats are guaranteed to lose the House in November, it hardly seems like a vote of confidence.

The problem has reached such epic proportions, Pelosi kicked off her own ostentatious bid for reelections last month.

Hoping no doubt to put to rest rumors about her own upcoming retirement at the midterms, Pelosi still insists she is both sitting for reelection and planning on retaining her speaker’s gavel.

Of course, that is what party leadership would and should say ahead of a midterm election shaping up to be a tough one in a variety of new and painful ways for incumbents in general and incumbent Democrats in particular.

Such as:

Defund the Police

When the stories of bad policies are told in full, the ill-conceived movement to “Defund the Police” may stand near the Chinese Communist Party’s disastrous “One Child Policy” and an old British tax-the-rich scheme which involved taxing the number of windows in a dwelling- at least in terms of unintended consequences.

The “One Child Policy” resulted in infanticide, human rights abuses, and a shortage of women, among other things. Taxing the number of windows in a dwelling resulted in poor people deprived of air and light as tenement housing windows were bricked up en masse.

“Defund the Police,” will forever be linked with a sharp spike in violent crime that even now afflicts major cities and metro areas across the U.S. from Seattle to Philadelphia.

Between scrambling to refund the police, and a desperation to prop up law enforcement morale and increase the woeful lack of policing caused by staff shortages, even progressive politicians are backing away from the movement as fast as their fingers can Tweet them.

Experienced moderates like Rep. Nancy Pelosi and President Joe Biden never jumped on the “Defund the Police” bandwagon, but plenty of otherwise clear-thinking Democrats did.

Now, unfair or not, the patina of “Defund the Police,” has settled upon the Democratic Party. Crime in many areas is as high or nearing the rates the U.S. saw in the 1990s during the worst days of the crack cocaine epidemic.

Democrats in New York City just elected Mayor Eric Adams, a former NYPD officer and committed moderate. He recently unveiled a veritable blueprint on fighting crime in the city.

Comparing himself in many ways to Joe Biden, Mayor Adams hosted the President at a recent event centered on confronting rising crime.

That the tide is starting to turn in favor of law enforcement is probably to the good in terms of midterm prospects. But a major question remains: Can Democrats in leadership make enough headway on rising crime between now and the midterms to make a difference?

The brazenness of the criminal activity which is taking place in some areas is shocking. A few weeks ago, thieves in Chicago robbed a convenience store and dumped emptied-out cash registers on the lawn of the Illinois governor’s mansion.

The rise in violent crime is appalling and heartbreaking.

Violent and property crimes, increasing all across the nation, are only going to get worse; not spontaneously better. Criminals aren’t going to suddenly come to their senses and start obeying the law again.

But any attempts to reverse the slide into lawlessness and crime are going to be viewed in askance by progressives in the party.

Can Pelosi and other popular moderates arrest the rise in crime without incurring the unbearable ire of progressives? Have we seen the last of the Democratic retirements- or are there more to come?

Anything could happen in between now and November. It would be a mistake for Pelosi’s critics, left and right, to underestimate the veteran lawmaker. If anyone can help Democrats navigate the dangerous waters of the House midterms, it’s Nancy Pelosi.

(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)